The match was thrilling, as always, and very close, but Hufflepuff managed to squeak out a win over Gryffindor, by seventy-nine points. They're getting good, Spike thought. For a moment she was concerned about Slytherin's chances with the Quidditch Cup that term, but shook it off. You have more to think about than just Quidditch, she reminded herself, like that little "victory party" in the Room of Requirement.
By thinking hard about how she needed to find Philandra and explain why she hadn't been in touch -- but how she had managed to create all seven faux Horcruxes!-- she found her way to the Room and waited quietly for the rest of the Order to turn up. They trickled in by ones and twos, quiet and subdued, even the Hufflepuff contingent.
Philadra was last. "So, she said, sitting down wearily and pulling off her pads. "I've already heard everyone else's reports, why don't you fill me in, Spike?" She listened as Spike explained the series of small deaths and sentimental objects that had been transfigured into something that appeared to magical senses as Horcruxes.
"I finally completed the series," she said, almost as tired as Philandra appeared. "So I'm ready to start scattering them as soon as you give the word. Ah, presuming you didn't already give it -- doing the Horcruxes put me a little behind on the OWL, so I had to make up for lost time . . . and . . ." she trailed off, suddenly feeling the stares of the other students gathered around her. "Am I too late?"
The look on Philandra's face was painfully familiar to Spike; she'd often seen it on the face of one of her professors. Not sure whether to be delighted with the power of her magic, or dismayed at the expression it had chosen. "Spike, hon, I think you're the only one who actually completed ANY of the horcruxes. And you say you made all seven?" Spike blushed and nodded, looking at the floor.
"I called everyone back a couple of weeks ago to call the experiment off. Didn't you see the flashing -- no, of course not."
Hecuba chimed in, "It was just too much for us, so we were going to focus on more achievable tasks from here out. Not fight dark with darker, but with single candles. I couldn't seem to find you in the common room, so I thought . . ."
"You thought I'd backed out?" Spike was incredulous and furious.
"You're a Second Year. You're the youngest student here. Be reasonable, what would you have thought?"
"All right," she replied, conceding the point. But what am I going to do with the Fauxcruxes?